At Lifeonaire we often talk about working. During these discussions, phrases like “working hard,” “working smart,” “working a lot,” and “being lazy” come up.
When I started my business, I was prepared to give it my all. I’d always heard that working hard would pay dividends. So off to work I went.
A few years into my real estate investing business, I started seeing quite a bit of rewards coming out of it. But I also started wondering: when am I going to get to enjoy it?
I was working so hard. I had more money than I’d ever had before, but I didn’t have much time to use it.
I wanted to start working less, but I was scared that I wouldn’t make as much. After all, working less meant I wasn’t “working hard”, and that was one of the keys to success.
That was a lie I believed. In fact, as I reevaluated my whole situation, I started to notice that there were many lies I was believing.
Whether consciously or unconsciously, many things get lumped into the definition of “working hard” that are not necessarily true:
1) Working hard is working smart.
Working smart is not simply exhausting yourself.
Actually, working smart is doing the best you can with the hours you have to work. It’s about being efficient and productive.
I’d go so far to say that the more you work, the worse you are working. Your hard work begins to diminish with time. Personally, I don’t work many hours, but I do work very hard during those hours.
This brings us to the next lie:
2) Working hard is working a lot.
This may be the biggest of the lies. I coach many business owners across the country, helping them to live successfully. Almost, without exception, they’ve achieved some level of success.
But they’re not feeling it. Why? Because they work too much. They’ve bought into the lie that working a lot is working hard.
Too many hours tends to diminish the quality of your output.
I find that most entrepreneurs are at their highest efficiency if they work 4 hours a day, give or take an hour. Beyond that, their productivity diminishes substantially.
3) Not working much is being lazy.
I’ve helped many people to change their lives and cut down their hours.
When they’ve accomplished this, they sometimes feel that they aren’t doing enough. They used to work 50+ hours per week and now they are only working 20 (by the way, they’re usually making more), and now they feel lazy.
They don’t know what to do with their free time. Some find activities to fill that time with, but the problem is that they don’t feel the significance with what they are doing.
This is a result of years of conditioning that has told them that hard work is working a lot. The good thing is this can be overcome with filling free time wisely.
I am 100% for hard work. But instead of working constantly, I work less. And I give it my all in the short period of time that I do work.
That short time of efficient work produces much more than most people do in their overdrive 60-hour work weeks.
Most will never believe this until they experience it. It doesn’t make logical sense, so unfortunately, most people will work their lives away believing the lie that working hard means working a lot.
If you are giving your all during the short period of time that you work, you will see a massive shift in your productivity.
This is truly “working smart.”
Embrace this, filling the rest of your time with significant things, and life will be great.
What thoughts do you have about spending less time working?
I would love to expand this conversation with you in the comment section.